Abortions up to six weeks of pregnancy can resume in Texas after a state court blocked a law written before the 1973 US Supreme Court ruling in Roe v Wade, after the nation’s high court struck down the constitutional right to abortion care last week.
A lawsuit filed by abortion rights advocates, providers and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit to block the pre-Roe law, which the state’s attorney general warned would hold physicians “criminally liable” for providing abortion care.
On 28 June, a judge temporarily blocked its implementation. A hearing date is set for 12 July.
“It is a relief that this Texas state court acted so quickly to block this deeply harmful abortion ban,” according to a statement from Center for Reproductive Rights senior counsel Marc Hearron. “This decision will allow abortion services to resume at many clinics across the state, connecting Texans to the essential health care they need. Every hour that abortion is accessible in Texas is a victory.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruled Roe and its affirming decision in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v Casey, ending a half century of constitutional protections for abortion.
The landmark decision handed the issue of abortion laws to states, rather than granting Americans the right to abortion care, and ignited a wave of legal challengers as several state-level laws that outlaw nearly all abortions went into effect.
Judges in Utah and Louisiana have also temporarily blocked anti-abortion “trigger” laws in those states.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of abortion Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Women’s Health Alliance, which provider abortion care in the state, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit that the the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs and Texas’ abortion law “will be felt for generations” if they withstand legal challenges.
“We know this because we have been on the frontlines of the battle for abortion rights and access for years,” she said. “Pregnant people deserve better. Families deserve better. … It is why we will persist unrelentingly in our mission to deliver the compassion, empathy, support, and care that the politicians responsible for this nightmarish situation have made clear they will not.”
Dr Alan Braid, an abortion provider at Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services, said he plans to provide abortions “for as long as I legally can” while Texas law is blocked.
“Abortion is a standard and necessary part of maternal health care,” he said in a statement. “Nobody should be forced to travel across state lines for basic, time-sensitive health care. It is devastating that this will be the reality in many states, including Texas.”
This is a developing story